Believe It or Not: A review of Now You See Me 2

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The first Now You See Me was a surprise cult hit. The sort of Film that the critics didn’t like yet the public did, making a decent amount at the box office and, inevitably, warranting a sequel. I liked Now You See Me. It blended the feel of an Ocean Elevens type heist Movie with the smartly written reveals of Sherlock.

It was a Film where magicians were like rock stars, the magic being used to produce a twisty, turny plot that constantly kept you second guessing with every second of misdirection it could muster.

It was a bonkers Film yet in its own entertaining way it worked and giving it a sequel kind of made sense. More sense than, say, Alice in Wonderland.

So, I’m positively delighted to report that I enjoyed this Film as much as the first one. It’s just as silly and though much of the surprise has been lost, as you continuously try to figure out the twists, there’s still an element of secrecy to it all. In fact, one of the Film’s biggest twists is that it doesn’t try to do too many of them to outdo its predecessor.

It’s a Film of simple pleasures and it knows what it is and what it wants. We watch it wanting to by shocked or surprised by some magical twists and that’s what we get. It’s a plot of convenience and contrivance yet it clicks along at a great pace, never giving you time to think, that it doesn’t outstay its welcome.

The cast is all game and seems to be having fun. They play themselves but that never feels like a disappointment.
Jesse Eisenberg does Jesse Eisenberg better than anyone, his little subplot doesn’t go far but it really doesn’t matter.
Mark Ruffalo gets dramatic meat as he deals with childhood issues after witnessing the death of his magician father.
Woody Harrelson is fun in his pork pie hat although his dual role, the second being a white-toothed, fuzzy haired twin brother is a little too bizarre even for this.
Dave Franco does Dave Franco, which is what James Franco did ten years ago but less smarmy.
And Lizzy Caplan who replaces Isla Fisher as the “Girl Horseman” integrates with the team nicely, her exuberance practically stealing the Film.

Then there’s Daniel Radcliffe being a slightly more evil Daniel Radcliffe and Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, the two ageing actors who have done so many Films in the past decade purely for the paycheck that it’s kind of funny to see them here together.

The cast is entertaining and the globe-spanning locations, a glitzy Macau or a rainy London are beautiful to look at.

The plot is inessential. Simply put, this is a heist Movie. The doohicky they need is just a plot device to get them doing some magic under the noses of a bunch of guards and it’s all in service to the big reveals at the end. There’s a dramatic conflict for Ruffalo and a philosophical, deeper meaning to the themes of the Film but what you really came for was the tricks and the fun of the heist.

That all I can really say. If you liked the first one, you’ll like this one and I recommend it if you wanna have a jolly fun time.

Rating: B

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